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31 Heriot Row

A stunning interior staircase and lightwell, used by the young James Clerk Maxwell for balloon experiments, is now given new purpose by artist Angus Reid through the installation of silhouettes and poetry on a giant scale. See a Georgian interior made over for the 21st Century.  Domecstatic is the third in a series of large-scale installations of words and imagery that explore personal social and political issues in Scotland in 2014. It is a new work by an innovative Scottish artist. Questions of identity, community and place are at the heart of Angus Reid’s work. In 2012, he installed 6 Peaks at Axolotl Gallery, placing the Pentland hills in a Georgian interior. The account of climbing the six peaks it took to walk away from heartbreak translated into a work that read directly and simply, to an audience that share this nearby landscape. Link: 6 Peaks In 2013, Call for a Constitution, placed the formula for a people’s constitution in 25 public spaces across Scotland in anticipation of the government’s recent pledge to have a written constitution. These locations ranged from Mike Forbes’ famous anti-Donald Trump barn in Aberdeenshire to the STUC headquarters in Glasgow; from a bus stop in Harris to the Scottish Parliament itself. This project became the book A Modest Proposal, published by Luath Press in April 2014. Link: Call for a Constitution Now, the third in the series, Domecstatic, brings it all back home to the four-storey stairwell of an Edinburgh townhouse. In this unusual setting for public art, larger-than-life silhouettes are framed by four poems that seek company as they climb towards the light. “… These poems and this installation reclaim the architecture of a private house for the imagination,” says the artist. “They invite everybody into what is otherwise a private space.” The four poems invite the visitor to negotiate a journey from dark to light, from a narrow threshold to an expansive light-well. They have, as a visual counterpoint, the outline of those that have stayed in the house or passed through as visitors, over the course of one month this year. To fix this fleeting presence has been to pay homage to the history of visitors to this house, and to trace the shadow of something otherwise invisible: the idea that the house has a memory. After all, this same hall was used by the young James Clerk Maxwell, the father of modern physics, and his cousin, Jemima Wedderburn, for experiments with balloons. “The great characteristics of this stairwell are the height, the light and the acoustics. It is a place capable of generating joy. Joy is the unexpected visitor: it is a necessary co-ordinate in the here and now, from which come generous meanings and values.Critics on previous installations: Angus Reid’s installation shows how well art and poetry can work together… Susan Mansfield, The Scotsman **** Poetry climbs to great heights, emotional, physical and spiritual… the work of Angus Reid deserves to be better known… Giles Sutherland, The Times ****


Acheson House Garden

Acheson House Garden is a newly restored historic walled garden just off the Canongate, tucked away in the medieval Bakehouse Close. It takes its inspiration from the 17th century examples, primarily foodgrowing gardens, which once lay at the rear of town houses in the Canongate. The design includes medicinal herbs, native vegetable varieties and heritage fruit trees, bordered with edible hedging to create formal shapes. At the heart of the garden, footpaths create a Scottish saltire and a biodiversity pond. The garden has lain neglected for many years, but it has now been regenerated with the help of Edinburgh World Heritage, Bridgend Growing Communities and the Patrick Geddes Gardening Club, named after the influential town planner who believed in the importance of communal green spaces. This hidden gem, a small ‘green island’, is concealed in the heart of the Canongate.

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